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Marilyn Hagerty: Lots to choose from at Larson's in Larimore

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LARIMORE, N.D. — School's out and you can hear the voices of children at the swimming pool and nearby park. As you drive into this town on Highway 18, also Towner Avenue, you see Larson's Drive Inn. It has been there since Marlene Larson opened it 37 years ago.

It's a white place with a blue roof and plenty of unpaved, natural parking all around. Inside, there are five booth, six tables and a Route 66 theme. Farm workers stop in for meals they order to take out to the fields. Travelers stop. And people from the area come regularly to make choices from a long listing of burgers, sandwiches and salads. There are shrimp, chicken and fish dinners.

It seemed like the natural place for lunch when Ann Porter and I were visiting the area on a day in June.

Although there is outdoor service, all of the customers were inside. AP and I found a menu much longer than at other drive-ins. This one has the usual listing of burgers. There are baskets. There is everything from a hotdog at $2.25 to a taco dog at $3.50. And you can find a chicken and shrimp dinner for $10.95.

Behind the small window to the kitchen, you see Sandra Larson. She has gradually taken over the responsibility of manager for her mother.

Our waitress was Abby Scheitel. Without her patience, we would have been puzzled by the long and involved menu. New customers have almost too much to study as they order.

Sandra Larson says monster burgers sell well. But this is a place where salads are in demand and the drive-in features a dozen versions. A listing of side dishes includes cauliflower and green bean fries as well as macaroni and cheese bites.

High adventure in Larimore could well be choosing flavors for malts and shakes at Larson's Drive Inn. The long listing includes everything from chocolate and strawberry to passion fruit, mandarin orange, Mississippi Mud, pomegranate and rhubarb — in season.

Ice cream and sundae flavors are varied, but more limited.

Larson's Drive Inn, Larimore, N.D.

Owner: Marlene Larson

Operator: Sandra Larson

Telephone: (701) 343-2037

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily with later closings at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Report card: A pleasant stop with an almost endless list of choices for lunch or dinner. Salads are a specialty. Prices are mid-range. Service was good with an above average and patient waitress. Menu offers vegetables and healthful food choices.